links i find vital

where it all started for me! (btw it starts off with like a min of music)
a seoul radio station interview about bssk
a bunch of interviews with black expats in soko
find family on facebook: Brothas&Sistas of South Korea

Monday, September 25, 2006

stupid all white esl forum.

brown hands white savior by Aurelio José Barrera
so im on the esl forums everyday, reading, learning, and all. everyone i have pm'ed in the forums tell me to stay away from korea. they go on about they, white people, can barely stand the descrimination themselves; how they get stared at, refused service at some buisness, how children and old people gawk at them... oh brother. "stay away from korea" "go to japan where people are more accepting." "im white and i can barely handle it some days, i'd never come here if i was black!" *puh* fools. i didnt become black two min ago. i deal with the boohoot every day. maybe i cant say, b/c im not there, but it seems to me that the only difference between here and korea is that koreans will be more upfront about their prejudices. the only black person ive met in the forums thus far is a sister who wrote to me, "It's no different than being home. You find things you like about it and you find things you absolutely can't stand about it too." i believe her. being black has never stopped me from doing anything. it's made some things harder, for sure, but stopped me... *tsk* get outta here with that.
march 2007, i'll be in korea

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

how can i help myself?

ok so i've got these three aspects of myself that may prove to be obstacles for getting hired in asia. i need to empower myself. i can't change being black, and i wouldn't want to, but i can change my weight and possibly change my hair style. i want this job change, i deserve it, im qualified for it. it's my understanding that image is very important in asia. i want to do all i can to make myself hire-able. marketable? able. homegirl blaque, ever supportive, has joined me in following better nutrition. i wont state here what she started as, but thus far she's lost 7 lbs. i started at 245. i have lost 5. my hair... i wear a headwrap most of the time, is that acceptable? i could cut my locks off. well, maybe not just yet! i had a job once that asked i not wear my headwrap. i told them i was muslim (LIE!), and do you know them suckas asked i bring a letter from my mosque to verify that?! haters. whatevers, because...
march 2007, i'll be in korea.

Friday, September 15, 2006

personal preparation

*i dont have any djembes, but this picture was nice enough for this entry.*
its been 3 days since my last entry, i have been online reading a lot about esl in korea. i have decided that im going to do it on my own. I am so glad i wasnt hired by aeon or nova, because i so got this. im aiming for leaving in March. i began to make a list of all the things i want to take care of before i leave: get new glasses, see the dentist, finish my tattoos, etc. I called some friends over and began to give away some of my belongings.

Eric to him i gave two mbrias and a set of shakers. he wouldnt take more b/c he knew yiriba was coming. *sigh* i adore eric, he's the nicest gentlest person and the best of drummers ive ever known. we call him J.C., b/c eric is so nice, kinda like Jesus.

Awoojola has some wooden carved dolls i'd brought back from ghana, a set of ibeji dolls, a set of ebony wood sculptures, a stone plate with an image of africa inscribed on it, uhm, im not sure what else, i told her to take what pleased her. she makes me laugh. i wish we hung out more. i think she's studying to be a yoruba priestess.

Yiriba to yiriba i gave two kpanlongos, three dondos, two boat bells, a small double bell, a big double bell, some shakers, two takai drums, a balafon and all the sticks i had. I'd thought he could use them for his african performance ensemble, but turns out the brotha volunteers at Fanno Academy teaching african percussion and will use them with the students. he said he'd put up a plaque in the room dedicating it to me, and would make sure all the kids could say and spell my name. (hee hee!) i told him i'd just like to come by in a few weeks, so that i can see the kids do their stuff.

Fanno Academy through yiriba, i passed on wooden carvings from zimbabwe given to me by joshua; a strip of kente cloth (i'd got at the black baccalaureate when i graduated college), and my massai necklace from kenya. i always said i'd volunteer at fanno, but still aint even been to the campus.

Akayaa to her i gave a few outfits (up down) i'd had made in ghana, along with a lot of cloth and some jewelry, all from ghana/togo. she's a phenomenal dancer and in giving these things to her, i know they will be in good use of her students/colleagues.

Blaque refused to take anything just yet, but did let me know she got eyes on my books. i'll have her take as many as she can handle, the rest will go to the malcolm x library, along with any dvds i may have.
March 2007 i'll be in korea

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

how about korea?

i was on eslcafe and stumbled across the korea forum. for a lot of jobs in korea, they pay your airfare. AND you get free accomodations. wow. wowee wow. forget japan, hows bout korea!? and the cost of living is less there, but the pay is about the same in japan, around $2,000.00 a month. people say they save like a thousand dollars a month. holy bejezus, this is fantabulous. i can work this. in 6 months, a year maybe, i'll be in korea. oh, i'll save up while there and maybe in two years, i can go back to ghana. i can pay off a good chunk of this student loan. i can pay back some money to my dad. and most teachers only work 20-30 hours a week. crazy amazing. i responded to two posts yesterday of job offers in korea, and got replies today. no offers of course, but quick replies to my inquiries just the same. im just thinking, i dont know anything about korea. not a goddamn thing. im going to go back on google.

Monday, September 11, 2006

determined am i

ive applied and have been turned down by two companies.
so what. i will try another company. i will go abroad and teach esl.
i cant stand my current job... i hate it here... im slowly dying.
so not kidding.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Interview with Aeon

summary of what my aeon interview was like:

There were only 5 of us there for the group interview. I don’t know how many there were supposed to be, but the room was tiny so I suspect we were all accounted for. We were scheduled to start at 1pm with the doors opening at 12:30. I got there at 12:35 and was the last of the 5 to arrive. We started promptly at 1 and moved to another room for opening presentation. The Aeon staff locked the door behind us, preventing any latecomers from coming in.

The presenters gave a break down of aeon in general. Classrooms are tiny; your class will be about 5 students at a time. The classrooms are actually offices; Aeon schools are usually on a floor in an office building, not a full-fledged school campus. We were shown the books we’d use, and it was explained that after arrival in Japan, teacher training is about a week long. We were shown a video of a typical aeon teacher’s day: commute to work or walk, get to the office, prepare for class, teach class. In between classes, students and parents may be in the lobby, aeon staff is encouraged to interact with them at this time, to create an opportunity for people to use their English conversation skills.

Aside from lesson planning and teaching, you may be asked to do small chores in the office: turn out the lights at closing, vacuum, etc. Working days are usually Tuesday through Saturday, noon-ish to 9-ish. You get major Japanese holidays off, and 2 vacation weeks. Everyone’s is the same, so trip planning with your coworker friends work out well time-wise. There is no shift swapping or flex schedule like nova offers.

aeon does not pay airfare to Japan, I know of no company in Japan that does. However, at the end of your contract, they do pay for your plane ticket home, or the cash equivalent, your choice. aeon pays for a bus/train pass so your expenses getting to and from work are covered. A bank account in your name is set up for you before you arrive and your salary is directly deposited. You get your own apartment; it is typical Japanese single room occupancy: very very small. Every apartment comes standard with an air conditioner and heater, television set, and washing machine. In Japan, people hang their laundry to dry on the balcony.

Rent is subsidized; everyone pays 42000 yen regardless of where you live. It is automatically deducted from your paycheck. You will not have to pay deposit or
key money. You are responsible for paying your own utility and water bills. Salary is 255000 yen, which is about 2186.00 in US Dollars. Overtime is 3000 yen an hour; though it is unlikely you’d ever have to work OT. The dress code is business attire. Men must wear suits and ties. Women’s apparel is more subjective, but on the conservative side: no Capri pants, no sleeveless, etc.

The amount of money people save up while in Japan depends on the individual. Some people buckle down and save $1,000 a month, but probably did nothing fun. Some people blow it all and live check to check. How you live financially is up to you. You get basic health insurance, but not optical or dental. Get your spare glasses/contacts and dental work done before you leave. If something happens in Japan and you have to go to the doctor, you have to pay all fees upfront, but within two weeks you are reimbursed in full. If you have prescription medications you need to take with you, check with the Japanese consulate first. Having any drugs at all without proper permission is a serious offense punishable by incarceration, and shoot, Aeon will probably just tell people where they saw you last and be out! Just kidding. Not really.

Next, we were shown a standard Aeon sample lesson. The five of us then had to discuss together as a group how to break it down and write the lesson plan together while the interviewers watched.

Next we presented our lesson plans we’d been asked to prepare for the interview. We presented one by one, the rest of us acting as the class:

One guy did a conversation about where the store is, he had a handout with a little picture and 5 lines dialogue “Do you know where the new jackets are?” “They are over there,” etc. He held up the paper, talked about it, had two of us read the dialogue. Then he discussed the meaning of the word “new” and the concept of “over here” and “over there.” His presentation was ok, his energy good and voice friendly and clear. My only critique is that he could’ve blown up the picture and put it on a poster, maybe colored it, to use as his visual aid instead of holding the paper up.

The second girl talked about the word “Like” used as a preposition and “Like” used as a verb. She had a poster with questions on one side and answers on the other, we were to match up the question with the appropriate answer and say whether or not “like” was used as a preposition or a verb. her presentation was very boring, she did 90% of the talking, her poster was just her writing on a sheet of tag paper which is fine, but she wrote freestyle so the words were scrunched and crooked and difficult to read--- word to the wise, if you write on a poster, use a ruler and pencil your words first.

The third girl… was really boring, I don’t even remember what she did her lesson plan on.

The fourth guy did his on adjectives. He handed out a paper with a list of adjectives, and talked about how some were used. He asked us students to use them in a sentence. Then he gave us cards with pictures, we were not to look at the pictures, but instead pair up with someone and your partner will use adjectives to describe you and you’d try to guess who you are. He had Santa Claus, Oprah; I don’t remember whom else. This, I think, was a good lesson plan because it has the students talking to each other.

My presentation was about nouns and colors. We played something like the game Simon where I was Simon with little color cards, and the students had to repeat the color sequence. The game is good because it is mostly students talking and teachers saying very little.

The presenters then talked about the seriousness of this commitment to live in Japan for a year. Keep in mind any weddings, graduations, special events during the year: you will likely not be able to attend these. Take into account any friends or family you have that are sick or ill, in the tragic event someone becomes severely ill or dies, aeon will do all they can to assist you, but remember that that is an expensive plane ticket. Also, this is a really fragile emotional time, and you will be on the other side of the world. Also, really ask yourself why do you want to go to Japan. If you are wanting to escape something at home, you will probably take that issue with you and you’ll be just as unhappy in Japan as you are at home now, likely more so, because you will be in a foreign country.

Last was a one page grammar test, and a one page series of questions, “what do you want to do in Japan? Why do you want to go to Japan? What will you have to do to prepare to leave for Japan?” The whole thing took about 3 and half hours I think. We were told we’d hear in two weeks time whether or not we’d be invited back for a one on one interview. Two of us had flown in for the presentation, and they were told aeon would contact them by 6pm that night. Aeon called me the very next morning asking for a one on one interview that next week. I do not know if any of the others were called in for a second interview, nor if any of them were hired.

Friday, September 08, 2006

aeon, shmayon.

so i wont be joining the aeon team. bah. i lined up my next interview with geos.

i was really embarrassed to have to tell friends of aeon turning me down. but everyone said great things: they didnt want me to leave anyway, aeon sounds ill, it's not meant to be w/this company. one girlfriend said to me, "its not about you, really." and she's right. i gave a great demo, which got me the one on one interview, but that one on one was one hour. how can someone possibly get to know me in an hour? if i said something offensive or questionable, maybe it was taken the wrong way. maybe it was down to having to pick one out of 5 perfect candidates, it means 4 have to be a pass. maybe its an image thing: i do have locks, even tho i said i'd cut them, maybe it's still an issue. maybe to have no hair after i cut them was an issue. maybe its being overweight. maybe its my oddly thin eyebrows. who knows... i've been reading lately at, many people who teach/taught abroad talk about how they just flew to asia and winged it. maybe i'll do that, maybe i'll just GO.thank you to my friends. thank you for reminding me that there are people who think im great, there's nothing to be done about the ones that dont.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

so, no aeon...

i got a letter in the mail today, looked pretty much like the letter from NOVA; thank you very much, unfortunately, etc etc. Hmph. i was so sure. i was SO sure i had it. my lesson plan went so well, i wished i'd been able to videotape myself, i was so good. where did i mess up? what did i say? what did i do? am i one of those losers on the reject episodes of american idol, thinking i'm singing like a diva but sounding and looking BooBoo the Fool?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

awaiting an answer from aeon

still awaiting an answer from aeon. it's been exactly 7 days today. ive been looking for forums online of teachers in japan, aeon specifically. if you do a google image search, you'll come up with a lot of pictures of Aeon Fluz. so weird the type of people that are in these forums. in, a guy posted a question as to how to answer "why japan" when he interviews. his real reasons, he says, are because he loves anime and magna, and to meet japanese girls b/c he heard it's easy to get laid if youre american. i dont remember quite what he said, but it was something sex nastee. i notice also a fair amount of japanese bashing in the forums. i wonder why they decided to go in the first place. can it be so bad? no. it wont be for me, im sure. every job ive had, every training, everything, there've always been people talking a lot of trash, i've never seen it as bad as others did. everything is temporary. people are too negative. i think its white people, they're so used to having things given to them, having things so easy, any small struggle is "not fair" to them. this is my own blog, so i can write whatever i want.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

no answer yet from aeon.

ive not yet heard from aeon. i hate all this waiting. i wish i just knew. the NO from nova really knocked my confidence, i feel like im waiting not for a job offer, but a letter in the mail saying no thank you. alas, there's nothing to do now but wait.

*sigh* they likely wont call over the weekend. and monday is labor day, so tuesday is maybe the earliest i'll get a call.

for distraction, im going through the buffy the vampire slayer series. im on season 5.
Turns out one of my coworkers is a die hard fan, so im brushing up on my btvs so she and i can wax on about it. we were so happy to have found this out about each other, especially to have found another sista who loves the show, and really wish we'd known this sooner. we couldve gone to the buffy parties together, couldve watched the first run episodes together! yeah, im serious! we both, also, see the same racist undertones to the series. i wrote my final college paper about it. im a multi dimentional being, there are many layers to me. seriously tho, there were practically NO reoccuring black characters onthat show. there was kendra, who was in two episodes, then she died. and she was high yellow looking like buffy with a tan.

Friday, September 01, 2006

moving on.

i interviewed w/aeon on 8/23, and they called me on 8/24 to schedule a one on one. yeah, thats right, the NEXT DAY they called me, sucka! im trying to not get too excited, b/c i surely did get happy with nova and then felt all STUPID afterwards when they turned me down!

i feel confident about this one. i was early, i had cool visual aids (we had to come w/our own prepared lesson plan and demo 5 min of it), i ROCKED my lesson plan, i looked really cute in my black with pink flowers skirt. tattoos were covered, hair stayed in a neat head wrap, and i had fresh breath.

in case anyone reading this is interested in this whole application process of teaching in japan, try yahoo groups. i joined the aeonteachernetwork, esl_teacherscafe, teachinjapan, and theteachersroomjapan yahoo groups. AND i've uploaded in the files section sample lesson plans, the actual application, mindful advice i've read on other posts, etc. im a nerd-o. if youre interested in nova, try the yahoo group novareality. i left that one after nova turned me down, der... a lot of aeon posters have american celebrities on them. i guess if you go to their school to learn english, mariah carey might drop in and visit?